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Men are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infections compared to women, but their risk perceptions around COVID-19 are persis - tently lower. Further, men often engage in less health promotion behavior because self-care in this capacity is seen as weak or less masculine. This combination has consequences for mortality; thus, a better understanding of men’s COVID-19 cognitions and individual diference factors is critical. In a web-based survey conducted during the beginning stages of the pandemic in the U.S., we collected risk perceptions of various sexual and non-sexual behaviors from heterosexual ( n = 137) and gay/bisexual men ( n = 108). There were no signifcant sexual orientation diferences for perceptions of COVID-19 risk from routine activities or in overall risk estimates. However, gay/bisexual men did report engaging in more precautionary behavior while socializing (i.e., masking, social distancing) and reported higher risk perceptions than did heterosexual men for nearly all intimate and sexual activities. A more nuanced understanding of cognitions around COVID-19 is needed to better understand motivation for—and especially motivation against—pursuing vaccinations and continuing precautionary behavior.


This work was originally published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, available at

This article is made available for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.


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